Review - Dragon Age: Magekiller #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"The problem with magic is that it cheats."

The world of Dragon Age is replete with all manner of individual, but there seems to be a particular focus on mages and spellcasters in general. Those characters always make for interesting reading, which is why Dark Horse Comics is teaming up with Bioware on Dragon Age: Magekiller #1. The issue is written by Greg Rucka, pencils by Carmen Carnero, inked by Terry Pallot, colored by Michael Atiyeh and lettered by Michael Heisler.

Tessa and Marius are mercenary partners, eliminating those who use blood magic to hurt others, but when a powerful patron employs them, they realize this next job may be their last...

Rucka sets up the issue with something of an introduction to the type of magic beings found in the world of Dragon Age. The duo of Tessa and Marius are essentially narrating their latest mission to stop one such spellbearer and Rucka doesn't pull any punches in reinforcing the notion that her magic requires physical sacrifices. Most of the issue follows this sort of narration and the issue works better for it because it provides a quick and dirty look at one facet of Dragon Age. The second half of the issue is focused more on where the story is going from here, with Rucka choosing a scenario that blends together Tessa and Marius' disdain for magic users with a forced hand. The pacing of Rucka's script works very well despite the seemingly disparate halves of the whole and his dialogue feels tight.

The look and feel of Dragon Age is maintained, thanks to Carnero's illustrations. Tessa and Marius are believable as bounty hunters and Carnero illustrates them with a certain youthful exuberance befitting ambitious youths. The panel layout is largely a grid, yet Carnero stacks them atop one another in a way that feels staggered and frenetic. Faces look sufficiently weathered and befitting of travelers weary from their journeys. Pallot's inks married to Atiyeh's colors reinforce the notion of blood magic, as many panels are awash in reddish hues ranging from scarlet to pinks.

Dragon Age: Magekiller #1 is a solid entry into the Dragon Age universe that fans of the game will definitely want to check out. Tessa and Marius end the issue in a slightly dangerous predicament that will dictate the future of the series. Rucka's got a firm grasp on the character and their interactions, providing exchanges that don't feel outlandish. Carnero's illustrations are clean and simple, effectively showcasing the fantasy aspects of Dragon Age. Dragon Age: Magekiller #1 has all the fantasy elements that one would expect from a book with "dragon" in the title, right down to the emphasis on magic, combat and thievery.

Dragon Age: Magekiller #1 is in stores November 25.